Kari Seitz, long a fixture in the center of important women’s soccer matches, is retiring after 28 years as a referee, 14 of which came at elite levels. The 42-year-old Seitz is the only referee of either gender to work four World Cups having been part of every Women’s World Cup dating back to 1999. She spent last season in NWSL, getting the nod for the championship match.
“Kari has played a key role in the growth of women’s soccer in the United States over the past 15 years,” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a statement. “Her dedication to her craft has always been admirable. She will always be a role model for young referees and we want to thank her for her tremendous work on behalf of U.S. Soccer and the women’s game, both domestically and internationally.”
According to U.S. Soccer, Seitz has refereed more than 200 professional matches and 1,000 college matches. She has also been in the middle for matches involving more than 45 different women’s national tams including more than 50 times for the U.S. alone.
Seitz will close out her on-field career with another U.S. match, October 20 at the Alamodome in San Antonio when the U.S. faces Australia.
“I’ve had opportunities that I never could have imagined as an official starting out at just 14 years of age,” Seitz said in a statement. “My life experiences as a referee have shaped me into the person I am today.”
Seitz will stay in the world of officiating as an instructor helping educate and evaluate young referees across the United States.
“I look forward to working with young referees in the future so they can have similar experiences,” she said.
Seitz is the only official to work three different regional championships – CONCACAF, Europe, and Asia.